Early Days

Louisa Kaufmann (1836-1874) The first records found relating to Louisa are on 10th January 1856 when she gave birth to a boy called Daniel Kaufmann in Bothwell, Tasmania. The father was given as James Nisbett, a baker. Daniel's birth was registered on 6th Feb 1856 by Louisa in Bothwell. Sadly the baby boy only lived for one month and his death is recorded in Bothwell on Feb 5th.

On records found in 1872 it stated that Louisa arrived free in the colony (to Hobart Town) c 1855 and her first service was to a Mrs Meyers of Bothwell. It said her maiden name was Kalfman.

Eighteen months later in 1857 Louisa, at the age of 21 years, married ROBERT BLYTH at the Church of Scotland, Bothwell, Tasmania. Permission to marry had to be extracted from the Governor, as Robert was still a Ticket of Leave man.

The entry in the "Permissions to Marry" volumes (con 52 AOT) reads:
12 MAY 1857   ROBERT BLYTHE per "Layton 4"   LOUISA KAUFMANN free

The marriage certificate dated 2 June 1857 (ref 111/8 AOT)
ROBERT BLYTHE age 22  shepherd
LOUISA KAUFMANN 21 house maid
Witnesses at the marriage were Thomas Lewis and Jane H....

I have to wonder why Robert gave his age as 22, when he was in fact 39 years old. Details gained from later hospital admission forms show that Louisa arrived in the colony circa 1855, a free woman, aged 19 years. She was able to read and write and her occupation was that of a house maid.
According to other documents found, her full name was Louisa Frederica Wilhamena KAUFMANN. The order of her given names varies with certificates, but the names lead to the conclusion that Louisa was of German origins. The family story has it that she came from River Spree in Germany.


During the period that their residence was listed as Bothwell, Louisa gave birth to three children.
Elizabeth   b. 3 May 1858
Robert    b.27 Apr 1861
Emily    b. 15 May 1865

Robert was a shepherd during this time and probably spent little time at home. During the winter months when the sheep were driven to the lower pastures, the shepherds turned their hands to snaring and trapping up in the highlands.
When their next child Alfred (known to his family as "Little Grandad") was born on 15th Jan 1868 no residence of the parents was given, although the birth was registered in the District of Campbelltown.
Matilda was born on 17th Mar. 1870 at "Windfalls" a property in the Campbell town district with an area of 300O acres owned by Mr John Swan, and 1et to Mr Nicholson.
It is possible that between 1859-1869 another son, named Frederick, was born. This information has not been confirmed by any official records as yet. He was said to have drowned at Campbelltown when just a small child.

New Norfolk Hospital for the Insane - Willow Court

Willow Court By 23rd Oct 1872, when their last child, a son George Henry, was born, Louisa and Robert were living at Prossers Forest. On 23rd Nov, 1872, just one month after George's birth, Louisa was admitted to the New Norfolk Hospital for the Insane with a medical certificate from Dr Mason, stating that he found her in a state of semi nudity, stripped to the waist. She was singing and dancing and said her name was "Drywald Brown". She commenced shouting and talking incoherently, throwing her arms wildly about and making hideous grimaces. Judging by the statement from her husband it appeared in her later stages of pregnancy that she was acting very strangely. A case of peurperal mania in a woman of German descent, 17 or 18 years resident in the colony, fair hair and complexion and sanguine temperament. [quoted from Louisa's admittance records].

Willow Court
Click here to view the Admission Register , the Admission Papers and the Case Notes from New Norfolk which document Louisa's incarceration.

A sad ending

Louisa's admittance record states : No 765 23rd Nov 1872 Female Louisa BLYTH, age 36 years Married Farmers Wife of Prossers Forest. Medical certificate signed 21 Nov by William Mason. Cause of insanity - childbirth*

Louisa must have been in a very bad state and oblivious to everything around her after George's birth. It seems that she was taken from Prossers Forest to New Norfolk, leaving baby George in the care of his older brothers and sisters. George would never have known his mother.

Louisa remained at the hospital, her condition deteriorating, untill her death on 29th October, 1874, aged 38. She was buried in a paupers grave at New Norfolk. Commemorative plaque
In the Pioneer Park, Stephen St., New Norfolk there is a brick wall on which are transcribed the names of those buried in the cemetery. Some headstones remain, but these have been moved and are placed around the perimeter of the park.
Pioneer Park, New Norfolk

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